Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I did not post about the project where I photoshopped, so I will comment on it now. I have been thinking about beauty and image manipulation and our insistence on improving the records of ourselves. These thoughts all led me to (like a lot of people) question why do we desire to look like someone other than ourself. Is it our ideal self, the one we wish we are, why is it we are not happy to be what we are? Our perceptions of our self are often a result of what we are exposed to and told is the norm, even when these are often extreme examples. I decided to try and explore it by taking images of women that have been used to establish extreme perceptions of what is beautiful, and attempted to make them closer to what the reality is for a lot of their target audience. Its interesting that looking healthy is often not always what is attractive to people.
I just started posting a new project where I took images of famous art work (all paintings) and I applied filters to them using an app similar to Instagram called Pixlr-o-matic. (its the same program I used on the pioneers of photography) It gave me more noticeable (better) results. I am exploring the idea that anything we decide to record, we for some reason feel the need to add to it, whether its to make it more personal or to make it more pleasing I am not sure.
Image apps are an interesting thing. We capture an image of something and then we modify it to make it more aesthetically pleasing. We use predetermined filters that were designed to make our images appear to have been taken from an other era. They are designed to inspire an emotional response to a halcyonic time, where everything was better, where everything made sense, where we were happy. We've been using visual representation in this way since humanity first applied medium to canvas. Artists choose their subjects carefully, they plan the location, they plan the outfits of the subjects, they choose how they will be represented. When some one poses for a painting or a photograph they often smile or pose so that they will be recorded the way they think paints them in the best way. I think back to photographs from family events were someone was unhappy and crying all day but then when they posed for a photo they were all smiles. Over time this photograph of happiness will go on to replace the memory of pain and misery of that day. We don't want our personal records to be accurate, we want them to be better than our actual past.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Continuing on the idea that even what is regarded as beautiful is not beautiful enough, I took several famous portraits and subjected them to a retouching program. The results were a mixed bag, some of the images were very noticeable, and others were not as successful. One of the things that I noticed in peoples response to the images was that they enjoyed some of the reworked images more than the original. I believe a few people even mistook the altered images as the original. My wife posed the question of why we were more attracted to the newer images. I believe it has a great deal to do with our constantly changing cultural perception of beauty. Throughout a great deal of human history in several cultures, a thicker body was seen as wealthier, healthier, a more suitable mate, and a thinner frame was seen as unsuccessful or malnourished. I can only imagine what other people from other periods in history would think of our current persons of desire.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The first component of my residency will be a series of images that were created using Instagram to apply filters to both a blank white and a blank black image that I created in Adobe Photoshop. I found myself interested in what exactly these preset filters were doing to our images. Some of the results are very noticeable and quite pleasing, while others are admittedly less so, and a few don't start to show until they are enlarged. For sake of completion I have included all of them. This portion of my project is really about questioning the authorship of work created by an individual and then altered by someone else. Is an Instagramed image still yours if you apply someone else's creative intentions to it, or is it now their's?
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
For this project I will be exploring and questioning our growing cultural obsession with the beautification of the records of our existence. Digital technologies and social media sites have made the sharing of images virtually instantaneous, and we are sharing everything from the most mundane to the globally tragic events, and we are not just sharing them we are constantly trying to improve upon the source material. All this is an effort to make the the subjects more accessible, pleasing, and popular. It was once condemnable to manipulate an image beyond its origin, now it has almost become required. It is no longer enough to take a photograph, now it must be altered to be acceptable. This exploration will utilize a variety of image manipulation techniques to push the boundaries of what photography has become, how its roles have transformed, and how it is perceived.
This is where I will be sharing techniques and ideas that motivated the projects I will be exploring during my residency with Manifesto-ish. I will be posting at least once a week from May 15th - July 15th. links for the pics http://stefanznosko.tumblr.com/ for more info about the great people promoting me http://www.manifesto-ish.com/